Sunday, 12 July 2015

Annie's Bananny Muffins

A recipe inspired by the zany Annie Hooten

Annie Hooten is Sandy Greenfield's Gran. They live in the flat below Bree on the Rockwell Estate and "everyone who visited flat 7B was instantly captivated by the sounds of jazz and the smell of baking."


Annie is a remarkably spry figure with a mop of frizzy carrot-coloured hair and make-up that's always a bit wonky. People call her 'Super Granny Annie' because of her love of barefoot jogging, skateboarding and extreme sports. The only indication of her age is that she is very hard of hearing. Annie makes the "best banana muffins within a hundred miles."

Here's what you're going to need to make them:

For the muffins:

3 ripe bananas
60ml (4 tablespoons) of vegetable oil
60ml (60g) of coconut oil
1 egg
A few drops of vanilla extract
150g of caster sugar
250g of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons (a splash) of milk

For the cinnamon sugar

100g of brown sugar 
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the butter icing:

150g of icing sugar
80g of soft butter
Preparation is the key to a successful bake!

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork until they are really mushy. That's why it's best to use very ripe bananas. The black ones that nobody wants are perfect for this recipe!

When the bananas are well and truly mashed up measure out 150g of caster sugar and add this to the bowl.

To this, add the 60ml of vegetable oil.

Now you will need to measure out 60g of coconut oil. 

The coconut oil will most likely be in a solid state (unless you live somewhere very hot - not Scotland!) but if you microwave it on full power for 30 seconds it will look like this...

Runny, liquid form. Delicious.

Add the coconut oil to the bowl. If you do not have coconut oil handy then you can simply add another 60ml of vegetable oil instead. The coconut oil does give the finished muffins something a little special and the smell that fills the kitchen when the cakes are baking is to die for. But I do understand that coconut oil is not always easy to find in the supermarket and it can be quite expensive so don't worry.

Next, beat the egg and add the vanilla essence to this. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the splash of milk.

Now WHISK everything together until the mixture is smooth and the oil is well mixed in.

Set the bowl aside and weigh out 250g of self-raising flour.

To this, add the baking powder and the salt then seive it into the banana mixture.

Fold everything together carefully using a spatula. Make sure all the flour is mixed in and that you keep as much air in as possible so the muffins turn out light and fluffy.

Prepare the muffin cases by placing them inside a muffin tray. This recipe makes approximately 12 big muffins so this tray was perfect...

To make the Cinnamon Sugar you simply add 100g of brown sugar to a food bag and add 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, giving the bag a shake to mix things up. This 'recipe' makes more than enough and I always find there is some left over. It's handy to have in the baking drawer though and keeps for ages so no harm in making a little too much.

Add a teaspoon of the muffin mix to each baking case.

 Sprinkle a good pinch of the Cinnamon Sugar over the top of each.

Finish with another good sized teaspoon of muffin mix to cover the brown sugar.

Remember the muffins will rise in the oven so leave a little space at the top of the case or else they may spill over during the baking process.

Pop them in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning the tray 180 degrees after this time and baking for a further 15 minutes. This gives a nice even bake. To check the muffins are cooked thoroughly after this total time of 35 minutes push a knife into one of them. If it comes out 'clean' then the muffins are cooked.

The aroma at this point is exquisite. You can really smell the coconut and cinnamon
This is the part of the process when I am immediately transported to Annie's flat with its ecclectic collection of relics and the sound of jazz on the record player. Sometimes, while I'm waiting for the muffins to cool, I stick on some jazz while I have a tidy up to really soak up the atmosphere of flat 7B.

Jazz and washing up

When the cakes have cooled completely you can prepare the butter icing. It's important to be patient as icing warm cakes only results in the icing sliding off! 

Add 80g of very soft butter to 150g of icing sugar and mix carefully with a fork. It might seem like it'll never look right but somehow it always comes together. If you think the icing looks too thick you can add a couple of teaspoons of milk to loosen things up.

Tricky job! Hence my 'concentration face'
 I like to use disposable piping bags as it's much less hassle.

Pipe the icing onto the muffins any way you like. I am most definitely not gifted in the art of decorating and I prefer things to look...shall we say...'organic'. I think the taste is the most important part and I never have any complaints.

I used little foam bananas and fudge chunks for decoration this time but I have used walnuts in the past and they are fab too.

I tried the finished article out on my son, carefully cutting one of the iced muffins in half to reveal the marbled effect created by the cinnamon sugar layer. I turned away for a moment to put the milk back into the fridge and when I turned back he had scoffed both halves! 

Praise indeed. 

I like to leave a few of the muffins un-decorated. They make gorgeous breakfast muffins this way. Not everyone like thick muffin style icing. It's up to you. Annie's Bananny Muffins are so tasty either way.

A well deserved cuppa

 Please do email me feedback if you decide to give these a go. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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